Pick of the Late Summer Crop

By Kathryn Matthews

Ahhh….the days of summer are passing ever so quickly. Why?  How?  I ask these same questions every year. At the start of summer, it seems we have all the time in the world.  Eight weeks later—we find that we’re fast rolling toward a season’s end.  So, while I can, I’m indulging in a last passionate fling….with late summer produce.

My favorites at farmers’ markets and farm stands this time of year?

Asian eggplant: I’m drawn to long, smooth-skinned slender ones—whether dark purple, pale green, or  white—with firm but springy flesh that gives a bit when pressed.

Tomatoes:  I like mine blemish-free (no cracks, bruises or spots); firm but supple; vibrant in color; and to smell of sun and soil—in other words—like sun-ripened tomatoes.

Summer squash: I pick my way through the large, thick ones (because they’re old and tough) in search of “baby” yellow zucchini that’s small, thin and unblemished.

Baby Yukon Gold potatoes: I love the silky feel of these petite, thin-skinned orbs in the palm of my hand.

Sweet corn:  when choosing, I look for those telltale signs of freshness:  an abundance of slightly sticky, golden-brown silks (the strands attached to the husk), a husk that feels plump and full, and a stem that feels moist, yet firm.

How best to celebrate this summer bounty?  See “At the Stove: Five Easy Pieces…”

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